Singapore goes to the poll this Friday 10th July. As election fever heats up and the hustling comes to a boil, we take a tongue-in-cheek look at the candidates and try to imagine them as stocks (because we are crazy about stocks).
If politicians are listed (delisted or almost-listed) stocks, these are the companies they will be. Just for laughs.
Khaw Boon Wan = SMRT
Khaw was first elected as a Member of Parliament in the 2001 General Elections. Over the past two decades, he has helmed the Health and the National Development Ministry before moving over to the Transport Ministry in 2015.
During a parliamentary session in 2015, Khaw spoke up in response to the Auditor-General’s findings on the opposition run Aljunied-Hougang-Ponggol East Town Council, calling for the removal of the town councillors.
In Japan, the Chairman and the CEO would hold a press conference and take a deep bow. And in the good old days, they may even commit Harakiri.
That same year, he took over the transport portfolio after his predecessor Lui Tuck Yew retired from politics over the incessant MRT breakdowns. Under his watch, SMRT was delisted the following year.
Announcing his retirement last week, PM Lee thanked him for taking on the most challenging jobs in the cabinet and for his lifetime of public service to Singapore
If Khaw was a stock, he would have been – SMRT. For after two decades in parliament, his political stock is about to be delisted.
And also because SMRT rhymes with Harakiri.
Ivan Lim = WeWork
Unless you have been living in a cave the past fortnight, otherwise chances are you would have read about Ivan Lim.
The 42 year old General Manager of Keppel Offshore and Marine was amongst the first PAP candidates to be unveiled. Having joined the shipyard at 16 after his O’levels, Ivan worked his way up the ranks to his current position.
The day after his introduction, a fellow soldier from his National Service reservist battalion recounted incidents that happened during their reservist days and questioned his conduct and most importantly his sincerity in wanting to serve the people.
It did not take long for the worms to start coming out of the woodwork. Over the next few days, many more of Ivan’s colleagues, ex-schoolmates and his army mates began stating their reservations about his character out over the internet.
Ministers weighed in, asking him to clarify his position. On the 27th June, just three days after his introduction to the press, Ivan announced his withdrawal from the General Election.
If Ivan Lim was a stock, he would have been a stock that was never ever listed.
Co-working operator WeWork filed for an IPO in August 2019, valuing the company at $47B. Immediately after, the company and its mercurial founder Adam Neumann were faced with a barrage of accusations ranging from its freewheeling booze culture to dubious valuation of its assets. In the short space of months, the company called off its IPO, removed Neumann from the company and the board, and went on a firing spree to trim costs. WeWork is now valued at less than $3B.
The rise and fall of Ivan’s star is almost identical that of WeWork.
Chan Chun Sing = Lian Beng (SGX:L03)
Chan Chun Sing burst onto the political scene in a rather unflattering manner. In 2011, clips of his speech to PAP members were circulated. They showed him mansplaining Singapore’s chances of survival in the future as a city state, comparing us against the very nondescript Lanfang Republic.
The defining moment came when he urged the audience to ‘Kee Chiu’ in response to his questions. The name has stuck since. In a more recent dialogue session with industry leaders at the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry during the early stages of the pandemic, Chan condemned shoppers who rushed to stock up on food and other essential items. He used a colloquial Hokkien term ‘Sia Sway’. While some were offended, others defended him for not sugar coating his words.
There is no question about it. The straight-talking no-nonsense Chan channels the inner Beng in us.
If Chan was a stock, he would be none other than construction company Lian Beng.
Because. Beng. Geddit?
Josephine Teo = Oxley (SGX:5UX)
Minister of Manpower Josephine Teo has been in the limelight recently. The number of COVID patients in Singapore hit a high of 44800 today. The majority of them are foreign workers living in dormitories and the Ministry has had its hands full working to test, isolate and rehouse them.
However, Teo’s stock has got nothing to do with her current preoccupation. Instead, it arose from an interview she gave to the Straits Times in 2016. Overseeing the National Population and Talent Division (NPTD) then, she responded to a question on whether young people are getting their flats early enough to have children by stating,
You do not need much space to have sex.
We cannot think of a more appropriate stock for her than Oxley Holdings. The homegrown property developer is the undisputed builder of shoebox units all over the country.
Many of the units are less than 500 sqft in size – small but definitely sexy!
Tan Chuan-Jin = SGX (SGX:S68)
Tan Chuan-Jin was first elected as Member of Parliament for Marine Parade GRC in 2011. In the early days, he was identified as a candidate with ministerial potential. In a surprise move, he took over the Speaker’s role after his predecessor Halimah Yacob left to stand in the Presidential Elections. The Speaker presides over parliamentary proceedings, regulates and enforces the rules of debate. As the guardian of parliamentary privileges, MPs look to the speaker for guidance for procedures. In short, Tan is an elected MP who is in charge of other elected MPs in Parliament.
His position is similar to that of SGX. As an administrator, SGX facilitates and manages the listings of companies in the Singapore bourse. It overseas the trading system to allow investors to buy and sell stocks with ease. As a listed company, SGX is itself listed on the Mainboard.
If Tan Chuan-Jin was a stock, he could only be SGX.
Jamus Lim = Tesla
Running in his first election, Jamus Lim’s credentials are impressive to say the least.
Apart from having a PhD in international finance and multiple master degrees, he has also worked at the World Bank and a Middle Eastern Sovereign wealth fund.
However, it was his composure and performance at a televised debate with Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan the broke the internet. The praise piled in fast. Many have touted him as the game changer for the Singapore political scene. Even his adversary looks enamoured.
Jamus is without a doubt the man of the moment. And like Tesla, whose stock has gone up 20% over the course of the previous week, Jamus’s stock has just hit an all time high!
Tan Cheng Bock = Thomson Medical (SGX:A50)
A medical doctor who ran his own clinic since 1971, Dr Tan was first elected as an MP in 1980. He served in the Ayer Rajah Constituency for 26 years, winning the highest ever vote count of 88% in the 2001 GE.
In the recent years, he has stepped into the political arena once again, first running as a candidate in the 2011 Presidential Elections before forming his own party, the Progress Singapore Party, to contest in the 2020 GE.
Consider the similarities with Thomson Medical. The clinic was started in the 1970s, with the hospital being built soon after. It was listed on the SGX and subsequently delisted in 2011 after remisier king Peter Lim acquired it for $400m.
In 2017, Rowsley, a mainboard listed company inked a deal to buy over the stake for $1.6b. The following year, Rowsley was renamed Thomson Medical Group. Like Dr Tan, the group has come full circle.
Tharman Shamugaratnam = STI ETF
Easily the most popular politician in Singapore, Senior Minister Tharman has proved his mettle both at home on the world stage.
Legend has it that should they declare him PM, he will be able to helm and defend a GRC singlehandedly against 30 of the strongest opposition candidates they can ever put together.
There is only one counter on the SGX that is worthy of this feat (ok, technically two). For this, we bestow upon him the title of the STI ETF.
Heng Swee Keat = Jumbo (SGX:42R)
Prime Minister-in-waiting Heng left his strong hold of Tampines to lead a team against the Worker’s Party in East Coast GRC.
He shared his plan for East Coast GRC during his nomination speech. Unfortunately in the heat of the moment he fumbled a little and the tough internet crowd has been giving him hell for it ever since.
Nevertheless, we are happy to see him at our GRC, and we unanimously agreed that no other stock represents him better that the Jumbo Group
Because the flagship Jumbo Seafood at – you guessed right. East Coast!
Hope you had a good laugh. Dr Wealth does not endorse nor support any political parties.